Lemon Dill Salmon & Fresh Veggie Orzo

During the holidays I can start to feel like, well, basically, a fat cow. All of the food around is always so rich and full of calories. Don’t get me wrong, the holidays are the time of year to splurge–and I indeed do. However, I feel an overwhelming need to break up the sugar overload with something fresh and light.

Tonight’s dinner was just what we needed.

Two fresh fillets of salmon from the supermarket, a box of orzo pasta, a few lemons, a box of grape tomatoes, a bunch of asparagus, and you are pretty much set.

I marinated the salmon for about an hour in fresh lemon, a tablespoon of olive oil, dried dill, sea salt, fresh garlic, and 4 lemon wedges. You don’t need to let it sit for very long as all of these flavors are pretty intense….30 minutes to an hour is plenty (in the fridge).

While the salmon is marinating, you can start on the orzo pasta.

First you will want to blanch the asparagus.  Cut in to pieces about an inch or so long and then boil for about 4 minutes.  Take directly out of the boiling water and place into ice water to stop the the asparagus from cooking.  After the asparagus has cooled, you can put it in a bowl with the grape tomatoes, which you can cut in half.

Add some salt and lemon to the veggies and then cook the orzo pasta per box instructions.

Once the pasta is done cooking, add it directly in the bowl with the veggies.  Here is where you get to be a little creative.  I don’t like to follow recpieies.  I like to take suggestions. 🙂  For this pasta, I added a bit of olive oil, some more dried dill, some lemon zest, and about 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar.  That might be too much vinegar for some people, but I like things tangy and salty, so I always add a lot of both of those items.  Season with other things such as fresh garlic and onion powder if you feel so inclined.

When the orzo is done, you can put your salmon on the grill.  That is right, grill.  Don’t bake it or cook it on the stove–I feel like those two things can bring out the fishiness of salmon.  I only cook salmon on my George Foreman grill. It really makes a difference.  I also always cook the lemons with the salmon because roasted lemons are amazing and add more flavor while the salmon is cooking and also when you are serving as added lemon on top.

When you plate the mail, add a few more fresh lemon wedges and some parmesan and you have a lovely, colorful, and delicious meal that will leave you feeling satisfied as well as gratified that you didn’t just drink a large glass of eggnog and a bowl of macaroni and cheese (which is all I have been craving for months!).

ENJOY!

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